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Tomlin may sit stars, but rest of Steelers to face Browns

28 December 2016

The Steelers feel emboldened after capping a six-game winning streak with a win over a quality Ravens team that threw everything at Pittsburgh, including 122 rushing yards on 26 carries and an offense that possessed the ball for almost 35 minutes. Almost 24 hours later, it was still though to stomach for Baltimore fans and the head coach. So in this rough year, the Colts lost every game they played to a team that would eventually represent the AFC in the postseason.

Most NFL betting outlets opened Pittsburgh at -4 or -4.5 for this game, with a total of right around 45.

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The Steelers' winning drive was accomplished with the no-huddle offense.

After holding the opposition to 10 points through three quarters, the Ravens, who carried a 17-10 advantage into the final frame, allowed Roethlisberger and the Steelers to score three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Bell has compiled 1,268 rushing yards and 616 receiving yards in only 12 games after starting the season on a three-game suspension.

Roethlisberger led the team down the field on the final drive to win the game and overcame his mistakes from earlier in the game.

A Raiders win against the Denver Broncos and a Patriots win against the Dolphins would match the Steelers against the Raiders in the Divisonal playoff round. But Roethlisberger made the big throws in crunch time.

Put it all together and no matter that it was a Thursday Night Football game played on a Sunday, fans watched.

Tomlin was then asked if Brown was supposed to run his route a yard deeper than he did to ensure that he was in the end zone when he caught the football. Baltimore will likely be without cornerback Jimmy Smith, who hasn't practised since injuring his ankle in week 14, which would provide quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with ample opportunity to target Brown.

"Coach puts us in that situation all the time", Brown told the NFL Network.

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, right, and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh mee ...

"I've been in a Super Bowl without Maurkice Pouncey", Tomlin said.

This was not a season in which everything went the Steelers' way. Bell was suspended at the outset for three games. The key play to swing the game was a 37-yard catch by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has since suffered a season-ending injury.

Obviously a loss to Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium wouldn't be an bad loss, but it would be disappointing because with Bell and Brown playing at the level they are playing, this feels like it should be the Steelers time. Then a single draft pick changed the name, game, and identity of the club forever. It's a tough pill to swallow, but it's time to move on to next season. A lot of praying on the sideline.

"I have full faith and belief that whoever it is, he's going to make the play", he said. "That's what we do this for, that's what it's all about, and our guys are going to be fired up to do it".